Colour Grading

When I’m looking for inspiration on colour, I like to look at a couple of websites. is a great website which gives you the general colour spectrum of a movie, where you can clearly see how the colour effects the mood of the piece. The second website is:, this website create a an average colour for every shot in a film and then puts all the colour into one image. So you can scan through the film and find the shot with the specific colours you are looking for.

When browsing on moviesincolour I came across Fantastic Mr. Fox, I really liked the monochromatic colour scheme in the movie. It gave it a very warm, autumnal feeling, which was a similar theme that we were going for in our project. I want to steer away from the traditional colour spectrums we see in movies, where complimentary colours are over used and can become quite cliché. The deep oranges are really powerful and compliment the orange fur of the fox brilliantly.


We started filming in October, so just at the start of the Autumn season. Some of the trees we just starting to turn so this gave us a reference to grade the rest of the scene to match these autumn oranges. I was able to do this by first using the greenscreen key in nuke to create a mask just for the grass and green leaves. Then using a grade node I was able to adjust the red and green channels to give them an orange/yellow, almost mustard, hue.

Here is an example of the grade we have put on our scene. In the first image are all the different nodes layered on top of each other so we can see how the colour is built up. On the left of the image is the final grade and on the right it is the original plate. First off, I adjust the black, white and gamma levels to bring the image to life, the original plate is very desaturated. The next step was keying out the green of the leaves, grass and reflections and turning them into an autumnal orange, this took a few layers to capture all of the green effectively. After this I keyed out the lightest points using a luminance key. This way I was able to boost the highlights making is look sunnier. The final step was apply the overall grade; this is was then gave me the monochromatic look I was after. The final Grade is the image on the right.

We chose to go with this grade because it reflected the time of year we were shooting in, early autumn. This time of year is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful seasons, there is so much depth of colour in all the orange and brown hues. It also compliments the soft, pale yellow paper, of the crane. Having these soft, almost desaturated colours, really invokes the emotion of peace and tranquility which we were trying to achieve in this shot.

From my research I have found that each colour represents a different emotion. According to the article I found on the creativebloq, they say that; oranges give the feeling of excitement, without the severity that red gives, and yellows represents happiness and friendliness. They also state that, brown gives ‘an outdoorsy’ feel and can be used to represent reliability and sturdiness. This is also represented in the firmness of the trees in the scene. They also talk about the vibrancy of a colour being vital the the emotion it gives. Bright colours are represented as energetic, while darker shades are scene as more relaxing and immersive. Which is precisely the mood we are aiming for.


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